Smart phones are infiltrating every area of our lives. We perform a daily juggling act when managing our private and professional lives through our mobile devices. Recent statistics revealed that on average, people touch their phones every four minutes- equivalent to 253 times a day! According to a recent study on the preferences and spending habits of Millennials, two in five London millennials are willing to spend up to £125 per month for superfast internet access. What’s apparent is that we are never really switched off.
Regarding connectivity and building infrastructure, The Royal Institute of British Architects estimates that twenty hours of our day is spent inside either commercial or residential premises. Yet, what’s concerning here is that, with roughly two billion smartphone customers worldwide, and with around 80 per cent of mobile data sessions beginning or ending indoors, only two percent of commercial properties have specific systems in place for ensuring indoor mobile coverage.
A few months ago, CommScope surveyed experts in charge of the architecture and management of buildings to understand their opinions on indoor wireless connectivity. Those surveyed included building executives, facilities overseers, real estate managers and the architects themselves. The results showed that we all need a robust and reliable network and, in order to deliver best performance and provide mobile coverage to users within larger and more complex buildings, businesses require investment in dedicated technology.
Leaving financial implications and technical complexities aside, the obligation for businesses to install such a dedicated system is apparent. Nowadays, residents expect to have cellular connectivity inside buildings, in the same way they expect a reliable supply of electricity, water and gas. Interestingly, the study found that cellular mobile coverage indoors could increase a property’s value by 28 per cent – meaning a £2.5 million office building could be worth £700,000 more with a dedicated indoor cellular system. Moreover, 60 per cent of those who participated in the survey admitted that indoor wireless connectivity was “imperative” for workers.
The growing demand for connectivity within commercial buildings can be attributed to the fact that offices have now taken on a world of their own, and are not simply a place for us to carry on our daily 9-to-5 grind.
Indeed, office spaces now function as sites where colleagues share ideas, connect and innovate around the clock. What’s evident is that companies can no longer rest on their laurels; in order to hire the most talented staff and attract residents, management teams need to provide a state-of-the art working environment that will have lasting positive impacts upon the overall wellbeing and productivity of their employees.
To highlight this correlation, those who were surveyed believed that indoor wireless coverage would enable employees to work more productively (77%), support the hiring of more skilled professionals (46%) and may even entice more visitors (39%).
Real-time data stream
The way we work is constantly evolving. The topic of the ‘workplace of the future’ has certainly been hitting the headlines in recent months. Indeed, buildings of the future must offer a range of options for connecting multiple devices and, due to growing demand, an infrastructure for indoor wireless systems may not be far off and will soon become the norm in the majority of buildings.
Yet, while it’s necessary to provide employees with mobile connectivity, companies need to also consider the present state of an environment if they wish to continue making necessary improvements to it and, to do so, they need to be able to track important environmental, special, and energy metrics.
With advanced sensor technology woven into a building’s fabric, this data can be taken instantaneously, processed and dealt with accordingly. This user-friendly system will, in turn, enable companies to automatically manage desk or conference areas in a more optimised way.
The overall ambience of a room or building, including air conditioning systems, the brightness of overhead lights, or temperature, can be regulated to offer employees a pleasant space more conducive to efficient work and, by optimising energy consumption minute-by-minute, a building’s carbon footprint can be significantly reduced, meaning cost savings and improved CSR credentials.
Moreover, this real-time data stream will be linked into Integrated Workplace Management Systems and other, similar, software platforms to enable a resourceful, smart and employee-friendly working environment.
Attracting top talent and helping partners and customers successfully transition to the digital economy has never been more important. Indeed, as more and more technology is added to the exploding Internet of Things sphere, and more people connect to the network and each other, more and more data will be generated and accessed in commercial and residential buildings. In order to keep up with, manage and interpret this data appropriately, all businesses need to upgrade to a fully intelligent building to maintain a competitive advantage.
By Lewis White, Managing Director for Northern Europe, CommScope